Excerpts Archive | 8/14/2008
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Excerpts: Alchemy
Adventurer's Vault

In today’s Adventurer's Vault preview, we examine the mechanics of alchemy, along with four examples.



The crafting of magic items is an expensive endeavor. For those unwilling or unable to devote the resources to crafting magic items, alchemy provides a powerful alternative. A ranger might use alchemy to craft a poultice that aids an ally’s healing. A rogue can create an alchemical chalk to destroy a lock beyond the limits of his Thievery skill. A cleric can use alchemy to make his or her weapons more potent against insubstantial creatures.

Magic is unnecessary to create alchemical items, but arcane ingredients are required. These items are rare and expensive, so alchemists commonly have adventuring backgrounds.

Applying an alchemical substance or administering an alchemical item is a standard action. Imbibing an alchemical substance or drawing an alchemical item out of your pack is a minor action.



Using Alchemy

The process of creating alchemical items is similar to the process of casting rituals (see Chapter 10 of the Player’s Handbook). As with casting rituals, a character using alchemy must first take a special feat that allows them to understand and use alchemical formulas.

Alchemist

Heroic Tier
Benefit: You can make alchemical items of your level or lower. You must have the correct formula and an appropriate skill.
Special: If you receive the Ritual Caster feat as a class feature, you can take the Alchemist feat instead.

Category

Each alchemical formula has a category that defines the type of item it creates.

  • Oil: Oils are applied to items (typically weapons), granting them temporary properties or powers.

  • Volatile: An item of this type explodes or expands when shattered or broken, often dealing damage by the creation of a specific type of energy, such as acid, cold, fire, or lightning.

  • Curative: These items aid in healing or in overcoming adverse and debilitating effects.

  • Poison: A poison is a toxin that hampers or harms a creature.

  • Other: Some items create miscellaneous effects that don’t fall into the other alchemical categories.

Alchemist’s Fire

Level: 1
Category: Volatile
Time: 30 minutes
Component Cost: See below
Market Price: 70 gp
Key Skill: Arcana or Thievery (no check)

This explosive substance is sealed in a specially treated clay flask. A thrown flask shatters when it hits a solid object, igniting the liquid within.

Alchemist’s Fire
Level 1+
When shattered, this flask fills an area with alchemical flame.
Lvl 1 20 gp
Lvl 6 75 gp
Lvl 11 350 gp
Lvl 16 1,800 gp
Lvl 21 9,000 gp
Lvl 26 45,000 gp
Alchemical Item
Power (ConsumableFire): Standard Action. Make an attack: Area burst 1 within 10; +4 vs. Reflex; on a hit, deal 1d6 fire damage; on miss, deal half damage.
Level 6: +9 vs. Reflex; 2d6 fire damage.
Level 11: +14 vs. Reflex; 3d6 fire damage.
Level 16: +19 vs. Reflex; 3d6 fire damage.
Level 21: +24 vs. Reflex; 4d6 fire damage.
Level 26: +29 vs. Reflex; 4d6 fire damage.

Modification: Ammunition (level + 1). You create this item for use with a ranged weapon such as a bow, a crossbow, or a sling. Item’s range becomes the range of the weapon but continues to use the indicated attack modifier. The burst area remains unchanged. You do not include a weapon’s proficiency bonus or enhancement bonus in the attack. The item’s component cost corresponds to the table below.

Level Component Cost (gp)
2 25
7 100
12 500
17 2,600
22 13,000
27 65,000

Antivenom

Level: 1
Category: Curative
Time: 15 minutes
Component Cost: See below
Market Price: 70 gp
Key Skill: Heal or Nature (no check)

Antivenom is contained in a small vial. Consuming the liquid provides additional resistance against poison.

Antivenom
Level 1+
This thick tonic can help counter the effects of most poisons.
Lvl 1 20 gp
Lvl 11 350 gp
Lvl 21 9,000 gp
Alchemical Item
Power (Consumable): Minor Action. Gain a +2 bonus to saving throws against poisons from a source of 10th level or lower. This effect lasts until the end of the encounter or for the next 5 minutes.
Level 11: Poisons of 20th level or lower.
Level 21: Poisons of 30th level or lower.

Smokestick

Level: 6
Category: Volatile
Time: 1 hour
Component Cost: See below
Market Price: 450 gp
Key Skill: Arcana or Thievery (no check)

A smokestick contains reagents that mix and ignite when it is cracked, creating an area of smoke.

Smokestick
Level 6
This rod of alchemical clay ignites to release a haze of obscuring smoke.
Alchemical Item 150 gp
Power (ConsumableZone): Standard Action. The smokestick creates smoke within an area burst 1 within 5 squares. The burst creates a zone, and all squares within the zone are considered lightly obscured. The zone lasts until the end of your next turn.

Tanglefoot Bag

Level: 2
Category: Other
Time: 1 hour
Component Cost: See below
Market Price: 100 gp
Key Skill: Arcana or Thievery (no check)

A tanglefoot bag contains a sticky gel that expands and hardens when exposed to air. The bag containing the gel is specially sealed to explode on impact.

Tanglefoot Bag
Level 2+
This small leather bag or satchel contains a sticky gel that can immobilize foes.
Lvl 2 25 gp
Lvl 7 100 gp
Lvl 12 500 gp
Lvl 17 2,600 gp
Lvl 22 13,000 gp
Lvl 27 65,000 gp
Alchemical Item 150 gp
Power (Consumable): Standard Action. Make an attack:
Ranged 5/10; +5 vs. Reflex; on a hit, the target is immobilized until the end of your next turn, at which point the creature is then slowed until the end of its next turn.
Level 7: +10 vs. Reflex.
Level 12: +15 vs. Reflex.
Level 17: +20 vs. Reflex.
Level 22: +25 vs. Reflex.
Level 27: +30 vs. Reflex.